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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — More than a dozen family members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School murder victims slammed the school district and its superintendent Thursday for failing to adequately address school security.
“In Broward County, there has been no sense of urgency,“ said Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was murdered. He pointed to what he called a glaring example at the Thursday news conference at the BB&T Center in Sunrise: The school system waiting until the 11th hour to begin hiring and training armed guards now required in every school by law.
“A last-minute scramble, six scant weeks before school begins, is not the best way to keep students and teachers safe,” Montalto said.
The family members, who said they were speaking for all 17 of the victims’ families, said the district has failed on its promise to create single entry points at every school. That it has waffled on the use of metal detectors. They talked about the admitted mass murderer and numerous red flags about him, that properly recognized, might have averted the carnage.
“We need leaders who understand, and leaders that lead. We do not have that here in Broward County,“ said April Schentrup, whose daughter Carmen was among the victims.
The victims’ families called for voters to turn the incumbent school board members out in the coming elections. Max Schachter, whose son Alexander was killed, said the system turned down millions of dollars in security help that private companies had offered for free.
“I never thought this would happen to Parkland. This could happen anywhere, and we need all of the county’s support, everyone’s help to come out and vote. We need new leadership,” Schacter said.
Board member Abby Freeddman opted out of running when Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa was murdered, announced she would run against Freedman. Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was killed, is challenging incumbent board member Donna Korn.
Andrew Pollack, who lost daughter Meadow, said the families are united for change.
“We might have different views on some things, but we never criticize each other. We all love each other. We are in a group that we don’t want any other parent ever to be in in this country, and we’re asking you to go out and vote,“ Pollack said.
School superintendent Robert Runcie told CBS4 News Wednesday that the system has been “laser-focused” on security.
Board Member Korn did not return calls for comment on criticism leveled against her or the election challenge by one of the victim’s parents.